Marketing from the Grocery Aisles: Making Lemonade from Cheetah Bananas

Last weekend, my husband and I were shopping at Costco. We arrived around noon, affording us the opportunity to sample goodies. Face it, one of the joys of going to Costco is scoring a bite of flavorful sausage or roasted chicken, a slice of imported cheese, sip of the latest sports/vitamin/health/fad drink, or in our case, a lovely frozen dessert of bananas and strawberries that was extruded from a funky little contraption, called a Yonanas.

After taking a bite, we turned to each other, and without saying a word, I rushed back to the demonstrator and grabbed a Yonanas.

It wasn’t until we took it out of the box, and read the instruction card that it occurred to me the original intention of the manufacturer. Cheetah bananas, Yonanas

Marketed by Dole [banana], a Yonanas turns frozen bananas and other frozen fruits into healthy desserts. Simply feed slightly thaw fruits through the machine tube, and within seconds out comes a delightful dessert with the consistency of ice cream, and taste of a rich Italian ice. It’s truly amazing and crazy easy and fast to use and clean-up!

From a marketer’s point-of-view, it’s brilliant.

The card that’s included with the Yonanas recommends using cheetah spotted bananas, which are over ripened bananas with brown spots. The more spots, the sweeter the banana. By introducing a use for over ripened fruit, which typically would be thrown away by consumers and grocery stores, Dole extended the uses of their product. And perhaps, they’ve created demand for something that wasn’t previously desirable.

The day after we got our Yonanas, we went to the store to purchase bananas for the week: A bunch of light yellow bananas, and four darker yellow bananas with the start of a few brown spots. For two days, we anxiously watched as the ripe bananas achieved the ideal degree of cheetah spots so we could peel them, and plop in the freeze. That evening, we enjoyed a creamy mixture of bananas and berries we’d previously froze.

Many years ago, Arm & Hammer took a similar approach to extending the uses of its baking soda, recommending putting a box in the refrigerator to absorb orders, sprinkling in kitty litter boxes as a deodorant, making a paste and applying to insect bites or rashes, using instead of toothpaste, and much more.

When trying to figure out how to wring more sales out of a product, consider new applications. You might find a more lucrative market than the original intention.

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One comment

  1. Bill is happy to go to Costco and chat up the gals serving free samples and eat a fast meal! I told him to look out for this product…he is also a sucker for such items. Eat on! xo

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